tv The Profit CNBC August 26, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
deserves more credit than he's often given. that's our edition of 60 minutes on cnbc. i'm steve kroft. thanks for joining us. [ticking] >> tonight on the profit, i go inside eco-me, an all-natural cleaning-products company run by two lifelong friends. this business is running on fumes, and it can close its doors any day. without me, this business doesn't make it. my goal is to turn eco-me into a $10 million company, and in that process, i have to teach these two that business isn't personal. >> you can't fire any of my employees. >> it's a business, robin. if they don't listen... i'm saying "no." this company will close its doors. my name is marcus lemonis, and i fix failing businesses. i'm willing to write a "half a million dollar" check. i make tough decisions. i'm not willing to do the deal if you're in charge of sales. back them up with my own cash.
it's not always pretty. i'll take the shower. jen, you take the toilet. >> i don't do the toilet in my own house. really? >> but this is business. i do it to save jobs, and i do it to make money. this the profit. [upbeat music] ♪ eco-me is an all-natural cleaning product started by robin kay levine in 2006. with the partnership of her childhood friend jen mihajlov, a 12% owner, they built eco-me up from a small, do-it-yourself cleaning kit to a 17-piece cleaning line, including dog-grooming products. this product is sold nationwide at stores like whole foods and target, and last year they did a half a million dollars in sales, with only six employees. i personally use this product in my own home and find that it works extremely well. to stay in business, robin has leveraged friends and family to find every penny she can, and they're nearly a half a million
dollars in debt. >> i'm really freaking out right now. >> household cleaning is a multibillion-dollar industry, and environmentally conscious products are becoming more popular with customers every day. eco-me has a great environmental product. and if they don't turn around their finances, they're gonna have to close their doors, and all their workers will be out of jobs. with the right changes, i can make eco-me profitable and turn this into a multimillion-dollar business in no time. i see the potential to make a lot of money. eco-me has a small, 2,000-square-foot warehouse, and there isn't any significant machinery to be seen anywhere. what i see is a lot of work being done manually. i already see big problems. hi. how are you? where do i find robin and jen? >> right through this door. >> are you robin? >> i'm robin. >> robin, i'm marcus. >> very nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you too. you guys have this place branded
well. >> thanks. oh, this is jen. >> oh, hey, jen. >> hi. >> marcus. how are you? >> nice to meet you. >> so, is this pretty much... >> well, this is the front office. >> okay. >> this is my office, and when jen comes into town--'cause she's based out of the east coast-- >> oh, wow. >> and she works in here also. >> i can't imagine having a co-worker, an employee 3,000 miles away from where our business is. look, i understand phone and email, but nothing replaces human interaction. what i want to know about is, why did you start the company? >> so, in 2005, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. we were like, "how did she even get cancer in the first place?" i went back to be with my family and help my sister through her treatments, and there was one day where i said, "mom, i'm not gonna go with you guys to the doctors. i need a break." and she said, "you know what? your sister doesn't get a break." and i was like, "wow." talk about, like, a waterworks moment. and she said, "why don't you just clean her apartment? make it really nice. when she comes home, it can be nice for her." and i was just opening up that cabinet under the sink, and i'm just staring at all the chemical stuff and the smell of it, and i said, "oh, my god! i can't clean with this stuff. i don't want her to continue to
get sicker." and i went, and i got vinegar, baking soda, olive oil. i googled, like, how to make your own stuff, what to do, and that just really started a snowball, and i totally pulled jen in-- "i've never done sales and marketing, but that's your background. you have to come with me." >> so you oversee sales? >> yes. so i went. >> she went. >> and that was it. i was hooked. >> she was hooked. >> robin, so this isn't really just about the products on the shelf for you, is it? >> no. >> no. >> no. eco-me is part my identity. it is part of who i am, and we work these days to obviously make money to put in our pocket and feed our families, but to do something that means more, it's pretty awesome to be a part of that. >> you guys have a lot of your own money in the business? >> yeah. >> how much debt in total exists? if you were just rough-balling it? >> well, close to $500,000. >> wow. >> last year was the year i was supposed to get paid, and it didn't happen, and it's incredibly hard for me, feeling the responsibility, to pull any money from the company when i know that i haven't paid people that are working and following my lead.
>> when is the last time you got paid? >> it varies, but even if i-- >> we're back to november still with you, though. >> yeah. yeah. >> what's your biggest fear? >> that this company won't survive. >> if you don't raise money, is that a possibility? >> yeah. >> of course, yeah. >> it's always a possibility. >> look, robin and jen have a great starting point with this company, and as you can tell, this business means a lot to them, and they've done a good job, but it's time for me to delve into the details and look at people, process, and product to see what needs to be fixed. i'd like to learn a little bit more about the product. >> it's just vinegar water, a little solubilizer, and our essential oils. it's the most simple, clean, effective product on the market. each of the product has a name. for instance, where they pick up a floor cleaner, it says "dave," and they say, "oh, my grandfather's name was dave." phil is--our toilet bowl cleaner is named after one of our distributor reps, so it really is catchy, and it sticks with the consumer. >> so the name of the product is emma or eco-me or-- >> so the story is that there is an emma, and these are all named after our friends and family-- >> what is the actual truth? is there an emma?
>> there is an emma, yeah. there is an emma. >> a toilet bowl cleaner called phil? a laundry detergent called emma or emily or--i can't even keep it straight. i've never seen a marketing plan this bad. so, robin, i'm a big people, process, product guy. the product itself is good. it has good purpose, a good mission, and it works, but as a business guy, it's really-- i'm struggling with this. i think it's terrible. you got to have a brand, not kate, jack, emma, dave. it's just too much. >> mm-hmm. >> make sense? >> we don't want to be like everybody else. this brand is very personal to me, and it was built on our friends and family, and in the marketplace, people know emma. they know bill. >> what matters is what's inside. >> what matters is what the customer sees on the shelf. >> well, the customer's not buying much of it, so... 'cause to me, pride of authorship is a very dangerous mistake that people make in business. >> i know you have your opinion, and i respect that, but i don't fully agree with it. >> it's good to be passionate
about your business, but when you have a pride of authorship that clouds your judgment, you're gonna get yourself into real trouble. they need to understand their idea isn't working. can you guys give me a tour? >> yeah. >> sure. >> the office next door is joyce frenzel, and she's our director of operations. >> hi. >> i'm marcus. how are you? >> i'm joyce. >> both: nice to meet you. >> thanks for coming. >> do you love it here? >> oh, absolutely. >> did you just say that 'cause the cameras are here? >> no. my boss is right there. >> she said that because i'm here. >> because your boss is right there? you don't want to get fired. >> this is our warehouse. we basically have drums that we do all our batching in. >> should i think about this like a big recipe batch... >> absolutely. >> adding ingredients like a mad scientist? >> both: yes. >> okay. >> but we're not mad. we're happy. [laughter] this is a big, plastic tote of castile soap, and it's one of the best castile soaps you can buy. >> so what's something like this cost? >> what is a tote? >> 4 grand. >> 4 grand. >> $4,000? >> yes. >> right. >> how much production can you get out of this? >> just under 5,000 units. >> we don't have a ton of room here, so we're buying one tote
at a time, where maybe we need four totes to manufacture, you know, 5,000 to 10,000 units. >> but space is one confinement... >> yeah. >> for not having more of this. what's another confinement? >> we need more people. >> yeah. >> i mean, it's just a fact. >> jen is our sales team. >> what have you been doing? >> manufacturing the formula, you know, you name it. >> you understand that running your business that way is... >> yeah. >> not good for you. it's not good for the business. it's not good for anybody. if you don't have the working capital, if you don't have the human capital... >> yes. >> you will totally crumble. >> absolutely. >> yes. >> this business is facing a slew of issues, including the production process, the lack of machinery, and the lack of manpower, but i'm mostly concerned about their ability to sell. jen is a sales team of one, and she lives 3,000 miles away. let me meet up with these folks for a minute. >> sure. okay. >> hey. how are you? i'm marcus. >> hi, marcus. my name is raul. nice to meet you. >> raul, nice to meet you. >> veronica. >> both: nice to meet you. >> are there ever days when you come in here and you wonder, "can the business make it in this tough economy?" >> yeah, that's been in the back of my mind.
i know it can grow, but will it grow? >> so tell me about your process. >> come get the bottles. okay. >> so we got a blank bottle. >> then we take it to label it. these labels are probably too big. the roll is too long, so it will not fit on that machine here. >> what are you, rigging the thing? >> yeah, because the roll is too big. >> not only do you not have the automated machine, this machine doesn't even work for what you have. >> right. >> how long does this normally take? >> on a good day, we can probably get maybe 1,200 bottles. >> this is just a bull[bleep] process. >> very long, very tedious. >> now let's see over here. what happens over here? >> this is the filler machine. >> you have one. >> one. >> wow. these machines are small and jerry-rigged, and the workflow is slow and inefficient. if they can only fill 1,200 bottles on a good day, it would take them several weeks to fill a 10,000-bottle order. this isn't gonna work. i want you to take me through how this works. >> you have to turn on the machine. [machine humming] you set it down on the floor.
this is how we set the time for the fill. >> it's a guess, isn't it? >> until we get it accurate, yes. >> these look full, but not really. >> no. >> they're a little short. >> they'd be short. >> so what does this need to weigh? >> these should weigh about 35 ounces. see, that's over. so, when it's over, what we would do--pour it out. >> now you're still over. >> i'm over. >> so i pour a little bit out. >> i'm still over. >> uh-huh. this process is crazy, and it's inefficient. it took over a minute to fill a single bottle, and that doesn't even include the labeling. inefficiency will kill this business. joyce, what is your title here? >> director of operations. so i oversee all of the operations. i'm basically responsible for everything that takes place on the premises. >> if you owned the business, what would you change if you were me? >> oh. >> one thing. >> definitely sales is what concerns me the most. >> do you think jen's qualified to run that sales group? >> yeah? >> kind of? >> you know, this is only the third time i've ever met her.
[chuckles] so, to be honest, i have not spent a lot of time with her. >> how many years have you been here? >> five years. >> and this is only the third time you've met her? >> correct. >> this is a sales organization, right? >> yeah. >> it's not anything else, and life is about selling. so, if you don't have your sales stuff in order... >> yeah. that's definitely the number-one concern. >> joyce has only met jen three times in five years. how could you run a sales organization from 3,000 miles away? it sounds to me that sales are a much bigger problem than i originally thought. your role in the company is the sales. do you think it matters that you're not actually in california with the rest of the team? you're in new york. do you think that makes a difference? >> no. >> no problem? >> no. >> it seems odd to me that somebody would be in charge of sales and not be where the product is and not be where the team is. do you feel like you're good at sales? is this something that you feel like it's a strong suit of yours? >> yes, i do! when i go to do these shows and i'm talking to a buyer, i could pretty much hold any product in
my hand and sell it. >> are you freaked out a little bit right now with where the company's at financially? >> um, yeah. i mean, it's just been a tremendous roller coaster. it's just been very difficult. >> look, there are some flaws in this business, but i still like the product. i'm gonna go in and talk to robin, who appears to be the decision maker, to see if we can cut a deal to save eco-me. so here's the good news. i believe in the product. >> okay. >> i love the people that are here, but i think your process is terrible. i think you lack efficiency and equipment. you also need to sell more. so here's what i have in mind. number one, i want to get this company to $10 million in sales. number two, i want to be profitable in a very short period of time. >> it sounds great. >> i'm willing to offer $500,000 to help this business not only survive, but succeed. >> mm-hmm. >> i'll finance the inventory. i'll finance whatever equipment we need for the warehouse. i will pay off the debt and fund working capital, but i want 20%
of the business. >> that is an awful deal. >> for who? >> for us. >> for me? >> no, you have a great deal! that's a great deal. you're crazy. you're asking me to give up 20% of this company, give up everything that we've worked for? >> you need money. >> we do need money. >> and you need help. >> we do, but i would say $250,000 is easily worth 10% of the company, and that gives you enough equity in the company so you feel secure that you're part of it, but you're not taking-- >> so a company that does $500,000 a year in sales and loses $200,000 is worth $2.5 million to you? >> the valuation of our company-- >> i don't care about the valuation. you need money. >> this is my child. this is my company. it's everything. >> i appreciate how personal it is, but without my money, without my help, this business that you love--it all will go away very fast. coming up... you cannot get to $1 million, because you're not good at it. >> no, i am good at it. >> no, you're not. this is about putting people in the right place. you are not a salesperson. peace of mind is important when you're running a business.
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>> without my money, without my help, this business that you love--it all will go away very fast. look, robin, the deal is very clear to me. i will do $250,000 in debt... >> mm-hmm. >> which means that i'm essentially funding the equipment... >> mm-hmm. >> and funding your inventory. >> mm-hmm. >> and i will do $250,000 in
equity for 20%. that's a total of $500,000. that's my deal. that's my offer. take it, or you leave it. >> every inch of this business, every second from beginning to end, it's me, and when you say, like, "oh, can you give up control over something?" yeah, i can, but i don't want to. this business is in my blood. so, if it doesn't make it, it's devastating. i cannot imagine a world without eco-me. i really--i really can't. >> do we have a deal? >> let's do it. >> okay. the purpose of me being here is to help you fix the business... >> mm-hmm. >> and for the next week... >> mm-hmm. >> i'm in charge. >> you can't fire any of my employees. >> but when i tell somebody that i'm in control for a week... >> mm-hmm. >> and then they start backpedaling and telling me, "well, but you can't do this, and you can't do that, and you can't do this"... >> i just had one stipulation. >> i know, and i'm saying no. >> yeah, but we've just met. >> but i'm just giving you $500,000, and i'm asking you to
trust me after i told you i would trust you. >> but i'm turning over my entire--my child. >> for a week. >> my child. >> but for a week. >> but for a week. >> i'm babysitting for a week. >> i know. let me tell you the thought process behind the employees. you come in, not emotional. it's not your baby yet, and you say, "you know what? so-and-so might be better in a different position, and i don't know if we're ready for that position 'cause i might want to outsource that." >> it's a business, robin. >> of course it's a business, but these are people's livelihoods. >> so you either trust me or you don't, and if you can't do it for a week, i can't do the deal. hear me out for a second, okay? >> okay. >> for me to give you $500,000... >> mm-hmm. >> that trust has to be really earned over a course of a week. >> and when the week is over... >> mm-hmm. >> the keys are back to me? >> yes. >> okay. >> but at the end of the week, if you don't do what you say you're gonna do... >> mm-hmm. >> and you don't follow through, my $500,000 and me will both evaporate. >> okay. okay. >> so make it out to "eco-me"? >> eco-me.
>> we have a deal. >> okay. >> thank you. >> wow. that's crazy. that's a real check. [laughs] >> it's a very real check. >> yeah. it's exciting, but it's a little bit unnerving. he's got some really good ideas, but he has some ideas that i know we're gonna butt heads on, and i have concerns, obviously, but we do need the help. hey, everybody, can i borrow you for a sec? >> good morning. >> good morning, marcus. >> morning. >> if you could stand over there with the team, that would be great--thank you. i've had a chance to meet all of you this morning. i wanted to tell you that robin and i have cut a deal to be in business together. i've committed to put a half a million dollars in your business. >> what? >> [claps] >> wow. >> now, i know that the process is broken and the product needs some tweaking. the packaging is bad. but it's the people process i'm worried about. this sales team--it's the biggest problem i see. all of you have a lot to lose, but if we execute on the things that i'm telling you we need to do, we will go from $500,000 in sales to $10 million in sales. eco-me is a great product.
i love it. but it's poorly, poorly marketed. the packaging is bad. the merchandising is bad. we're gonna redo all of it. i don't want to be in one store on one shelf. i want to be in every store on every shelf. the strength of any organization is about its people, and in this organization, it's about its salespeople. can jen actually handle this job? can she do it from 3,000 miles away? i'm not sure. and lastly, our supply chain is broken. we need to improve the process. we can't use a machine that has a maximum capacity of 1,200 bottles a day. i'm gonna invest in equipment that can turn out 1,200 bottles in 20 minutes. this will increase production immediately and put us on the path to generate $10 million in sales annually. for the next week, i have complete control of the business, 100% control. anybody can be fired. anybody can be demoted. anybody can be promoted. whatever it is that i want to do, i'm gonna do. does anybody have a problem with
that? 'cause today is the day to leave if you do. >> no. >> so, if you're ready to go to work, i'm ready to start. >> absolutely. >> we're ready. >> thank you. good luck. it's gonna be a bumpy ride. >> the first thing i'm gonna do is get eco-me's equipment up to date. >> this is where we make high-speed equipment. >> i'm taking robin and jen down to accutek, one of the premier companies that produces bottling equipment. >> so this is the machine. this is the same type of head right now that i think you have, right? >> yep. >> this is a neck grabber. what it does, it ensures that the bottle neck is centered to the nozzle so you don't accidentally crash in between bottles. >> right, okay. >> you could do 60, 70 a minute on this... >> wow! >> without even thinking about it. >> so where do the labels go on? >> after the bottle's been capped--we'll send one through here, and then it's gonna travel down here through the labeling machine, and that will--let me catch that bottle. >> oh, my god. >> whoa, that was awesome! >> oh, my god!
[laughter] >> getting this equipment will immediately improve the production by 24 times, which means that they'll be able to produce as many as 30,000 bottles in a single day. we need more business, like, yesterday. >> yeah. >> we better sell more, and if you don't, i'm gonna find somebody who can, 'cause this $180,000 machine is gonna require us to sell about $4 million or $5 million immediately, just to make this thing make sense. thank you very much. >> great. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you very much. >> than you very much. >> yeah, nice meeting with you. >> everything is coded and dated. >> connie and kelly are my two lead buyers from camping world, and they control all the product that hits my 100-plus stores. i'm confident that if jen can convince kelly and connie to buy the product, she'll be able to convince anybody. boo! it's us. >> hi. >> scary. >> how are you? >> good. how are you? >> this is connie and kelly. they're my two lead buyers. >> hi. nice to meet you. >> jen. >> hi. >> nice to meet you. >> they see about 600 vendors a
year, and they know that they're talking to about 6 million customers. >> mm-hmm. >> so, jen, if you can show them some products, that would be great. >> sure. okay. >> hey, robin, can i show you something inside real quick? >> okay. >> i'll just start. so robin and i met when we were in kindergarten, and we grew up together. we came together based on a need. the need is to remove harmful chemicals from our homes that we use every single day. we wanted to group everything together as our family line of products. that was our initial intent--to mix up very natural products for you and your family. >> jen, can i interrupt you just for a moment? >> sure. >> when i look at your product, i see "eco-me..." >> mm-hmm. >> "all-purpose cleaner." >> mm-hmm. >> but it doesn't tell me what it cleans. >> well, you know, we're saying that it's all-purpose. i mean, it really can clean almost everything in your home. >> wood? >> not wood. >> okay, see? >> right. mm-hmm. it kills germs and bacteria. >> is that on there? >> yeah. i mean, our vinegar does. it says it in the labeling. >> does it smell vinegar-y? >> no. we worked very hard on that as well. >> i smell the vinegar.
>> how are you gonna compete in the market? i mean, 'cause you really can't tell me about your product, of really what it does. >> yes, we can. we just haven't figured out how to do that yet. >> well, when are you gonna figure it out? >> we're working on it now. >> i see "dave," and i don't really understand who dave is. >> mm-hmm. >> who is phil, dave, matt, and emma? i mean-- >> they're our friends and family, basically, and they're supposed to replace your friends and family in your-- >> i think we're missing it a little there. >> mm-hmm. >> this is broke for our stores as far as packaging goes. >> it is broke. i don't feel that you're ready at all, and then when i'm asking you about your product, i didn't get a good clear answer as to-- >> you would have if i knew that i was meeting with you today. i mean, obviously i do my... >> but you know what? >> research when i come prepared. >> i'm sorry. you have to be ready, or you're not even gonna get an audience. that's how it rolls in retail. i'm not convinced that you can do it. >> coming up... this would be what our model would look like. >> i really don't like the colors. >> robin, i don't give a crap what it looks like. what i care about is it sells, and that isn't selling.
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i'm john kaplan, and i'm a member of a synchronized world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. just by talking to a helmet. it grabbed the patient's record before we even picked him up. it found out the doctor we needed was at st. anne's. wiggle your toes. [ driver ] and it got his okay on treatment from miles away. it even pulled strings with the stoplights. my ambulance talks with smoke alarms and pilots and stadiums. but, of course, it's a good listener too. [ female announcer ] today cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everything works like never before. >> thank you, ladies, for stopping by. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> so i think the takeaway is, if we're gonna go from $500,000 to $10 million, we better be prepared. you cannot get to $1 million, 'cause we're not selling enough, and the reason we're not selling enough is because you're not good at it. >> no, i am good at it.
>> no, you're not. >> yes, i am. >> yes, she is. >> no, you're not. >> yes, she is. marcus, she has grown this company. >> it's disrespectful. >> it's totally disrespectful. >> it's not disrespectful. >> it is! >> of course it is! >> to just say i'm not good at it--that's a bunch of b.s. >> no, it's not. >> that's a bunch of crap, and it's rude. >> no, it's not rude. >> it's rude, and if you want to be in partnership with us, we can't have that kind of relationship. you're now disrespecting my partner who helped me build this business, and it's not okay, and i will fight you back on that, 'cause i think she deserves an apology. >> it's not about a friendship. it's a business. >> it's a person and their job and their role, so it is disrespectful. >> so what did i do to her that was disrespectful? >> you just told me i wasn't good at something that i've been doing for six years. really? >> quarterbacks get cut all the time. >> this isn't that situation. >> it's a business. this is about putting people in the right place. you are not a salesperson. >> camping world, here we come! >> i invited the eco-me team to one of my camping world stores to set up a display on the floor and sell their products. i wanted to see what kind of
reaction potential customers would give them. so i'm gonna introduce you to johnny, who handles business development for me across all my businesses. >> all right, come on over. you can go ahead and set up. we'll see how you merchandise it, and now we need to see what our customers think of it, okay? >> all right, excellent. >> let's do this! [metal clangs] >> this comes out. i just don't want to break my nail. >> oops, sorry. >> this looks like something you bought at ikea. >> this is something we bought at ikea. okay, i'm one screw short. >> you know, robin-- >> i didn't realize all this was gonna be getting assembled. this is kind of rough, bringing it in and set up inside store-- boxes out. yeah, let's make sure we don't get in this spot again. >> okay. hi. how are you? >> hi. what you buying? >> i need to get some toilet
stuff. >> hi. hi. hi, ma'am. >> and then what are you gonna clean that with? [laughs] this bottle right there. >> this one. >> the all-purpose cleaner. >> do you have a pet? do you have a dog? no? okay. hey, jen, do we have--oh! >> so this looks like a lot of chemicals. what are you looking to clean with? do you mind if i ask? everything? so why don't you try this today too? you know, this--you're spraying, you know--yeah. >> jen is being way too aggressive with the customers. instead of selling the value of her product, she's tearing down the other products, and robin is even struggling to have a conversation with anybody. seeing the eco-me team in action was one of the reasons that i brought them to camping world. the other is for them to interact with a focus group of customers. >> all right, everybody, thank you for coming today for our focus group. so the name "eco-me"--when you think of that, what comes to mind?
>> when you say "eco-me," what is that? there's no tie-in to what the actual product is. it's a little confusing. >> if it was in a super market on the end aisle, i'd walk right past it. >> is it because the word "eco"? >> just by the name "eco-me," and then--i wouldn't know what it was. >> what do the names mean on these? >> oh, yeah. >> "by mia"? this one says "by mia." >> so what does that tell you? >> it means nothing to me. i don't know who they are. >> it was made very clear during this focus group that the customers are extremely confused about this package. we can't sell a product that people are unable to identify. what i'm hoping is that robin and jen got that message. well... >> mm-hmm. >> that was kind of a big deal for me. >> yeah. >> the consumer is saying, "it doesn't work," so we are going to change the name. >> it's just overwhelming. >> it's overwhelming.
>> you seem beat up right now. >> i feel the overwhelming burden of--did i make the wrong choices for the brand? >> the reason that i continue to move forward with this is because i believe in you, but i'm trying to understand, in a positive way, and i'm struggling, the dynamic of jen. i watch her interact with people, and instead of selling, she's defensive. >> i'm not willing to sit here and have a conversation... >> yeah. >> that picks apart our v.p. of sales and marketing and my partner. it's really not okay by me. >> i think you have a difficult time separating your friendship from her role. you would be better off just saying, "you know, i never thought about it that way." >> mm-hmm. >> "i'll talk to my people," and say, "thank you for the feedback." >> i don't agree. >> robin seems resistant to change with the two biggest issues that i think are holding them back-- packaging and the sales process.
if she won't come around, i cannot do a deal and risk a half a million dollars. i want to introduce you to derek. >> hi, derek. >> derek, say hello to everybody. >> hi, everyone. >> hi, derek. >> how are you guys? >> derek's gonna unveil a couple of concepts. today i've brought in a graphic designer that's come up with a new look and message for eco-me. i talked to the two of you yesterday about having an identifier. >> mm-hmm. >> so, when you look at your sneakers or you look at a bottle or you look at something, it's a logo for something. this is what, conceptually--when you see the tree, you think of eco-me. >> you can see that there's actually elements in here of the bits and pieces of all the stuff that it would clean. >> this would be what our bottle would look like. >> wrapped? >> fully wrapped. >> wrapped. >> and we got rid of all the names you used to use. >> i really don't like the colors. it's hard. it's like selling somebody else's vision. the green to yellow--they feel a little bit generic. i don't get it being eco-me. >> we don't want to be near that muted, you know, palette. this type of product could be on the shelf next to other products that are nice and bright and
green. >> usually when you see bright primary colors, what comes to mind are fast-food joints or p&g branding. >> p&g--the $9 billion company? >> yeah. >> oh. we don't want to be so niche-y that we're just speaking to people who are only environmentally conscious. we want to be far more mainstream. whether yellow is right or green is right or purple--i'm kind of confused. you didn't want a lot of bright colors, but you didn't seem to mind to throw up all over your bottle. >> okay, so i don't take it as throw-up, so, you know, i-- >> but, i mean, you just, right out of the gate, just said too many-- >> i said primary colors, but i said i don't like-- >> oh, so, if it's not--'cause this is okay 'cause it's pastels? >> i wouldn't even say those are pastels, but i feel like these primary colors scream "mass market"--too extreme. >> does that mean because it's not your idea? robin, i don't give a crap what it looks like. what i care about is that it sells, and that isn't selling. i want to remind you that i'm in charge and that, during this process, your feedback isn't any more important than anybody else's. we're a team, and we're gonna function together, but we are
gonna make a change. coming up... it's kind of a violation of our agreement. >> you told me to work with the designer. >> but you didn't! you ended up-- >> yeah, we did. >> well, i just got off the phone with them, and they have no idea why the final product looks that way. and later... if you're not willing to fire jen from this sales position, i'm not willing to put my money in. it's just that simple.
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>> i've come to new york, and i've set up a meeting with jen and the managers of the strand hotel. landing a major hotel chain could really make a difference in this business. it could be as much as three times more than a typical retail account. >> hi. how are you? i'm jen. >> nice to meet you. john. pleasure. >> so thank you for meeting with us. we really appreciate it. >> you're very welcome. we're known for our cleanliness, so this is important to us. >> i can read that. >> this is a big meeting for eco-me, and i'm hopeful jen can rise to the occasion. >> so we have an amazing line of products that really get the job done with the most natural ingredients possible. >> which of your products you would use as a disinfectant? which our biggest concern. >> our all-purpose cleaner is a disinfectant. it's made with vinegar, which kills up to 96% bacteria and germs alone. >> are you getting that, in terms of an aroma? >> no. >> at all? >> you know, a tiny bit, but ammonium bleach, that's okay? [laughs] you know, it's just funny to me. >> okay, interesting.
>> yeah. >> speak to me more a little about your dilution system. >> okay, every-- >> how does that work? >> yes. everything on--it depends-- yep, what it is that you're gonna order, as far as size-wise, our dilution, um--sorry. >> i'm worried about jen's presentation so far. she's coming across unprepared and unenthusiastic. look, it's one thing to know your product, but when you're gonna sell to a national hotel chain, you better bring your "a" game. >> i mean, it sounds like a great product. so we have one or two other vendors that we're entertaining, and... >> great. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> thank you very much. >> hold on a second. i have a question. what do we need to do to earn your business today? i mean, that's obviously why we're here. we understand that you have other products, but when jen and i talked about coming here, we came to ask for the sale, so... >> well, i think, you know, in short, you know, the only question that really will make sense is testing this product out. >> absolutely. >> do you have a room that we can go clean right now?
>> yes, of course. we should do that. >> well, we're willing to go clean toilets for you right now, so let's-- >> let's give it a shot. >> do you have a room that we can go test this in? >> absolutely. >> okay, great. look, i didn't come here to make this my sales presentation, but if jen won't ask for the sale, i will. i'll do whatever it takes to make sure we land this order, including get my hands dirty. [knock at door] >> housekeeping. all right! i'll take the shower. jen, you take the toilet. >> i don't do the toilet in my own house. really? >> so you're really going in there, huh? >> heck, yeah, because if i don't believe in the product, you won't believe in the product. >> love it. >> come on, jen! you're like the supervisor or something. >> does it leave any streaks, or is it...? >> i'd like to have a chance to finish my job first. >> okay. >> [laughs] >> okay, fair enough. >> okay? this gives you a chance to be enthusiastic and excited about your product. anytime the customer can see that, their confidence builds. what i want you to see is the cleanliness of the glass, but more importantly, take a sniff. >> i get the scent. >> smells clean. >> light. >> i get the scent. >> no residue. >> there is a freshness that's impressive. >> you don't look like you want to get in there. come on.
>> i'm so--i-- >> let me show you how to clean the toilet. >> all right. >> you got to get down because most of the residue-- >> that's where all the gross is. >> i shouldn't have to twist jen's arm to show them how good eco-me products really are. she should be actively participating in selling. >> nice. >> if they see it, they'll believe it. well, we're looking forward to your first order. we're excited. >> thank you very much. >> we'll have the box on the way. despite jen's inability to sell the eco-me product to the hotel, the strand's feedback was very positive, and things are looking good in terms of getting an an order. you understand the product, and you are a great face of the company, but i still don't think that sales is your core competency. >> okay. i disagree. i am the reason we have sales for this company. there's no room for discussion here. >> yeah, but then i'm not writing a "half a million dollar" check. the company's about to fizzle away, and i think where i'm at is, i'm not willing to do the deal if you're in charge of sales. >> i've been working my ass off for six years... >> nobody's doubting that.
>> to get us on the map... >> mm-hmm. >> and someone is coming in and saying, "pfft, you suck." >> if you want to save your business, your reaction to constructive criticism shouldn't be defensive. you don't like constructive criticism. you just don't like it. >> for business advice and extra scenes from the show, go onto cnbc.com/the-profit. i hav
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is that true? says here that cheerios has whole grain oats that can help remove some cholesterol, and that's heart healthy. ♪ [ dad ] jan? >> why does that upset you? >> there's no room for discussion here. [line trilling] i'm gone. >> hey, robin. marcus. you got a minute? so i just spent an hour with jen at the strand hotel in an appointment that i got set up. we went upstairs to one of the rooms. we cleaned it, and then i gave constructive criticism. she became unglued. and i said, "jen, you can't be defensive every time somebody gives feedback. it may be true that the sales
thing is not for you," and as you would have imagined, she was not happy about that. how do we best move forward so that it works for everybody? yeah. i encourage you to talk to jen about our conversation, and, you know, i think it's enough about that, okay? why are you so upset? >> because this is my livelihood, marcus. >> but i'm not trying to take your livelihood away. >> yes. >> i'm trying to save it. >> you seem like you are. without me in mind, you seem like you have an agenda, and that's why... >> here's what my agenda is. my agenda is to save your business. >> i understand that. >> you haven't gotten a paycheck in how long--two years?
three years? >> okay. >> okay, you got to let me help. >> i want you to help. >> okay, i'm gonna do it. >> but i want you to understand that i do deserve to be in the sales business. this is me. this is what i do. >> so are you-- >> this is what i've always done. >> are you willing to be coached through that process? >> yes! >> okay. i will give you the support that you need, but you have to not get explosive with me. >> i-- >> and you have to trust that what i'm telling you isn't to hurt you--it's to help you. you really have to believe that. is that a deal? >> yes, absolutely. >> okay, can we shake on that? come on. >> [sniffles] >> i'm back in los angeles, and i was originally on my way to eco-me to talk to robin about jen's performance at the strand hotel in new york... until i got a call from the graphic designer telling me that robin changed the labels. that was way more pressing. robin? so i just got through finding out that you changed the labels. >> we just didn't like the direction it was going. >> our deal was, when i left here, i told you that i was in charge.
>> mm-hmm. >> and what i have to start to wonder is, do you take direction well? can i trust you? it's kind of a violation of our agreement. >> you told me to work with the designer. >> but you didn't! you ended up-- >> yeah, we did. >> well, i just got off the phone with them, and they have no idea why the final product looks that way. >> because we were trying to get it that way, and they couldn't. so, at a certain point, we put it into the context of what it-- >> so you just went on your own and did that? are there other times this is gonna happen? i mean, do i have to be wondering all the time that when we agree on something, you're gonna do something different? >> no, but you have to understand that if you're trying to change the entire look of my company and of our brand-- >> oucompany. >> of our company, that sometimes somebody might need to go off and do their own thing, whether-- >> that's not okay. when we state what the rules of engagement are-- >> it's a big [bleep] deal, and if i'm gonna make decisions, let me make decisions about my company. >> when we make an agreement and we're gonna work together, i shouldn't be changing things, and you shouldn't be changing things, 'cause it violates our trust. i feel like you include me when you need to... >> mm-hmm. >> and don't include me when it's convenient. >> yeah, i mean, i could see how
we might have gone rogue, and it should have been a conversation before we-- >> yeah. i have 6,000 employees, and i want them to have their own minds and take chances, but when we have an agreement.. >> mm-hmm. >> and we shake hands... >> mm-hmm. >> i don't ever want to wonder if that's gonna change. >> you know, as much as i might be a control freak and my team sees that and i have that feedback and i know i need to work on that, i can be humbled by this. i know when i've done something and maybe there is a better way to do it, and, yes, 100%, my apologies to derek and to you. i'm a very caring person. i would never set out to do anything that would "a," put my company at harm or people in harm that i work with. >> right. >> and i do sometimes get too stuck in my head and stubborn. i know my faults. >> but that's what i like about you. see? if you can just let go a little but be the dynamic person that you are... >> mm-hmm. >> then we're gonna make a lot of money. we're gonna make people happy. you and i are gonna be fine. i have thick skin. i'm used to entrepreneurs like you. i'm gonna go out in the warehouse and see the guys, and i'll catch up with you in a little bit. >> okay, thank you. >> yep.
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requires challenging your business inside and out today. at cognizant, we help forward-looking companies run better and run different - to give your customers every reason to keep looking for you. so if you're ready to see opportunities and see them through, we say: let's get to work. because the future belongs to those who challenge the present.
>> this is our machine right here, right now. >> right. how many do you guys get done in a day? >> we can probably get 1,200. >> with this new machinery, you're gonna be able to get 10 times that done--50 a minute. this is the actual machine. your line speed is gonna be fast enough to where you're not gonna be able to keep up with 55-gallon drums. our labeler will hot-stamp code all the labels with the date-lock codes. you're gonna have a touch-screen computer thing. it'll tell you how many bottles you filled in a day. >> wow, that's great.
>> i've spent over $180,000 improving the equipment and the machinery here, and i've paid off nearly all of their debt. i'm gonna be well over $500,000 when it's all said and done. >> wow. >> let's get to work! we're ready to see this thing. >> it all starts. we got a loading turntable. it's gonna go in. we're gonna fill eight bottles at a time. >> wow. >> you're gonna hand-place the caps for the sprayers. this is gonna tighten it. we're gonna label it, put a date code on it, come down the table, and pack them up in a box. >> come on down! >> what? >> [laughs] it was so amazing. the new logo and the date code. >> [laughs] >> to see the whole process and have it brought here and set up to work with our products is mind-blowing. >> whoo! >> this used to take us forever. it's amazing. we're now set up, for sure, to be successful, and we're gonna make it happen. >> when i first met you guys, i told you we were gonna go from $500,000 to $10 million. this machine gets us to $10 million. we now will have what i would
consider a legitimate company. [applause] you know, robin, when we first met, the product was sold in more of a niche-y space. it did well, $500,000 a year, but as we've redesigned this packaging, we clarified the name, we established and identified, we're clear about the ingredients. we're now telling the story, especially the best one-- "made in the u.s.a." >> it's a big difference. from across the room, you can see the brand. you know exactly what the product is. there's no questioning. >> this package got us to here. this package gets us to $10 million. how hard was this process for you? >> this was so painful. it was almost like cutting off a limb. to be able to step back and realize that i had to do it for the company, and then see how great it is and how much better it is? it's amazing. i get it now. people will now know eco-me instead of being, "is it bill? is it emily?" i get it. >> and i'm proud of you, robin. i'm glad that you see that this was really a transformation of robin as a leader, as much as it was a transformation about eco-me as a company.
and the fire that you have in your belly is the reason that the business has been able to survive all this time. >> thank you. >> if you can just get that positive energy turned in the direction that takes us to the next level, i'm confident you'll get us there. >> well, thank you so much. i couldn't have done it without you. >> this has been a great experience at eco-me. i always focus on people, process, and product, and in this case, the people have made a real turn. jen is doing a great job at listening and following my lead as it relates to sales process and sales presentation. she's lined up some new, big national accounts, and i'm very proud of her progress. robin has become a much better leader, and she's improved not only the process, but she's improved the product. the new labels are in place, and sales are up almost 50% in a very short period of time. with the help of these two and the other employees, we're well on our way to getting to $10 million.
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